Monday, January 5, 2009

Cooking Light Mondays: White Bean and Sausage Ragout

You may have noticed that the foods I've been posting for the last few months have not been exactly healthy. Or anywhere near it. More like the polar opposite of healthy. Seeing as it is a new year, I've decided to make more of an effort to eat better, and to actually cook at home with a plan, instead of "Hmm, I wonder what's in the freezer."

On this note, I am instituting Shrink My Butt Mondays Cooking Light Mondays. I love Cooking Light magazine and have been a subscriber for many years. I love to read the recipes and look at the pictures and say "Wow, I should make that." And then go out to eat. I am hoping that by making a commitment to posting on Monday, I will be required to make something healthy on the weekend that I can eat the rest of the week.

Which brings me to today's recipe: White Bean and Sausage Ragout with Tomatoes, Kale and Zucchini. Hey CL Magazine people, what is up with the ridiculously long names for your recipes? Must you put EVERY ingredient in the title? Anyway, I'm not going to write out the recipe, as it's already online. But I will take you through the process. This was my first experience trying to take photos while cooking (as opposed to baking) and it was a little challenging to get decent photos, so please excuse my lame pictorial.

Probably the hardest part of this recipe was chopping stuff, as I am a horrible chopper. I have zero knife skills, plus I'm a perfectionist, so it takes me way too long to cut stuff up. However, here are my zucchini slices. The recipe says to quarter them, but I started with really small zucchini, so I halved them.

Ooo, Ahhh, out of focus.

I also chopped a half cup of onion, smooshed three garlic cloves, and then tackled the kale. I've never actually cooked with, or eaten, kale before, so it was my big adventuresome moment for this recipe. My only previous experience with kale was when I worked at Dairy Queen as a teenager. We used it to line the salad bar so it would look pretty. But they would use the same kale over and over, and it started to stink really bad, which put me off it for...ever, I guess. It actually ended up being super easy to work with. I just rinsed, cut off the stems and chopped it up in big pieces. And it didn't stink at all.

Next, I sliced up some chicken sausage I picked up at Trader Joe's when I bought the almond meal for the Yule Log. Unfortunately, I got distracted by the apple part and didn't think about the sweet part. Oh, well. (Made with Pure Vermont Maple Syrup!)

I also had some S & W diced tomatoes,

and a couple cans of white beans.

By the way, if any one out there works for S&W, I would like to become your spokesperson. I love S&W stuff...great quality, reasonable prices. I even have previous commercial experience. Seriously. Call me. Hello?

Anyway, I would rather have had actual cannellini beans, but I couldn't find any. So these had to do.

After all the chopping and smooshing and rinsing and draining, it was time to put it all together.

Saute the sausage and onion in a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for 4 minutes, or until browned. (Can you see the pieces of apple in the sausage? Yum!)

I added the zucchini and garlic next, but forgot to take a picture. Anyway, cook that all up for 2 more minutes. Then add all the rest of the ingredients.

Then say, "Dude, how am I going to mix all this up?" Do your best to mix all this up. Bring to a boil, which is pretty hard to do since you can't actually see the liquid in the bottom. But try. Then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Admire the Calphalon pan that your mom got you for your birthday. (Thanks, Mom!)

That's pretty much it. The only thing I would do differently is to cook it a little less. My kale got a little overcooked. But it was still good. Even the sugary sausage tasted okay in there, but I would try a different flavor next time around. The kale was much better than I expected. Not overpowering, and it kept its texture well, considering it was overdone.

Make some toast since you're out of any other bread. Put it all in the pretty Polish Pottery dish your dad got you for Christmas. (Thanks, Dad!) Eat. Try not to burn your tongue. Enjoy!


  1. That looks delicious, and it sounds so healthy! It is probably loaded with all the good stuff that fights off colds. Oh, and can I say I am jealous that you live near a trader joe's!

  2. Right girl your on... Im checking in of a Monday cause Im wobbling in places I didnt used to... now this Kale bizzo... what do you reckon I forget that and use spinach,,, or bok choy... cause I really dont think Kale is in season down you Ive never cooked nor chopped the stuff let alone tasted it... but other than that...Im cutting and pasting this one ...:)

  3. Shrink My Butt Mondays. I like the sound of that and the ridiculouslylongnamedrecipe here looks pretty good, camera skills or otherwise.

  4. Nichole, I'm sorry you got sick. And yes, this would probably knock the germs on their derrieres...if they had them.

    A'Jay, I think spinach would work fine. But it would probably cook down quicker than kale. So you might want to simmer for five minutes, then add the spinach for the last five.

    Thanks, Lisa. I am hoping the Birthday Fairy will bring me a new camera, but until then I'll just keep apologizing for my out of focus pics!

  5. Hmm...Cooking Light Mondays could be a new group! Love your Polish Stoneware. I have a couple of small pieces. Isn't it amazing to cook with?

  6. it is a good group idea. Hmm...I'll have to think on that.

    And yes, I love my Polish Pottery. But I've never actually cooked with it. It's so pretty, I just use it for serving. I guess I should break it in.


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